Canning strawberries is an easy way to preserve the fresh flavor of summertime to be enjoyed all year long. Canned strawberries are delicious when served as a topping on ice cream or pancakes or they can be baked into a favorite cake. For those who can’t wait, they can be enjoyed straight out of the jar. With a little investment and a little time, your family can indulge in the sweet taste of summer even in the coldest months of the year.
At a kitchen store you should be able to find all the canning supplies you need. At a minimum, you should leave the store with a canner pan and canning jars and lids. Ask a helpful employee any questions you may have about the products. Hopefully they have some canning experience and can lend you a little bit of their knowhow.
After also acquiring at least six quarts of strawberries, you are ready to begin your project. Each jar and lid will need to be sterilized before the strawberries can be placed in them. Wash them individually by hand first, using plenty of hot, soapy water and a clean washcloth. Rinse each piece completely in hot water. Fill the canner pan with water and place it on the stove. Heat the water to a full, rolling boil.
Use tongs to place each jar and lid into the boiling water, leaving them submerged for five minutes. Again using the tongs, remove each piece from the water allowing any excess water to drip back into the pan before setting the jars right side up on nearby clean towels. Place the lids on the same towel.
You should begin the next step in the canning process immediately after sterilizing the jars. If the jars are left for a day or even a few hours, they will need to be sterilized again.
Now that the jars are ready to be used, the strawberries must be thoroughly washed. Carefully remove each stem so the berries will be ready for the next step.
The next part of the process involves a choice. Prior to canning, the strawberries can be mashed with a potato masher, halved with a sharp knife, or left whole. The choice is entirely up to your preference. Add sugar to taste. This may require a little bit of trial and error, but take it slow and add sugar carefully. You can always put more sugar in with the berries, but you cannot take it out.
Meanwhile, boil two quarts of water on the stove. When the water reaches a full boil, add ¾ cup of minute tapioca. Keep the water boiling until it becomes clear again.
You may add salt and sugar to the water and tapioca mixture, to your taste. When it tastes right to you, add it to the strawberries. Stir the mixture carefully and do not add all of the water at once. You may not need all of the water and tapioca mixture. Again, you’ll have to use your judgment to decide what consistency you would like.
Now it is time to spoon the strawberries into the jars. The canner pan will again come into play here as each jar is sealed. Fill the canner pan with fresh water and bring the water to a boil on the stove. Fill a jar with the strawberry mixture, seal with a lid, and, using the tongs, place the sealed jar into the boiling water. Each jar will need to sit in the boiling water for five minutes.
When five minutes have elapsed, remove the pan from the heat and leave the jars in the hot water for an additional ten minutes. Remove the jars from the water. They will likely still be hot, necessitating the use of the tongs once again. Store the jars in a cool place, like a pantry shelf, until you are ready to enjoy them.